Pregnancy vegetarianism is the practice of adhering to a vegetarian diet during pregnancy. Vegetarianism is “the principle or practice of excluding all meat and fish, and sometimes, in the case of vegans, all animal products (such as eggs, milk, cheese, etc) from one’s diet.” Although some people frown upon pregnant women practicing vegetarianism, there is no evidence that vegetarianism—practiced properly—is unhealthful during pregnancy. There are millions of healthy babies born each year from vegetarian households.
Most opponents of pregnancy vegetarianism are concerned about the pregnant woman’s protein intake because vegetarians do not eat chicken, fish, or beef. It is recommended, for example, that a pregnant woman should aim to have something from the four main food groups everyday. These include fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, protein-rich foods and dairy foods. There are several vegetarian sources of protein: soy, cooked dried beans or peas, tofu, nuts or seeds, peanut butter, and eggs
. Vegetarians focus on foods that are normally left out of most non-meat pregnancy diets such as include beans, fresh dark green vegetables, and whole grains which are good sources of protein. The risks associated with vegetarianism, that is to say the problems vegetarians face, can generally be lessened by a careful diet.
These problems that many associate with vegetarianism, such as anaemia, are in fact not due to the vegetarian diet alone, but more so to the fact that the subject in question has failed to supplement their body with the nutrition they require. When cutting out meats, some vegetarians fail to intake any other kinds of protein. To intake protein is very important during pregnancy as one of the cause of the anaemia is iron deficiency and it varies by region. The iron-deficiency anaemia increases the risk of low weight in birth and transmits the iron-deficiency to infants.